Bay of Bengal - February 3, 2008
03.02.2008 - 03.02.2008 82 °F
Since leaving Laem Chabang, Thailand, we have traversed the South China Sea into the pirate-infested waters of the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia and Sumatra) and right on into the Anaman Sea where we dumped into the Bengal Bay. Pretty cool if you look on a map!
We've also changed time zones. Two days ago, ship time was "retarded" one hour and tonight we're shifting back another half hour. Every time we've had a time change, I've forgotten to change my time pieces and have raced to get to work on time only to discover I could have slept or whatever else. While no great tragedy, it's something I'd like play out differently. So tomorrow morning I'm gonna savour that half hour. For real.
Sleep is hard to come by in this life. If it's not one thing, it's another. Tonight it's taking advantage of the fact that everybody is at an event, meaning that I am alone on the Internet, and the speed is blazing! The past two nights it was the fact that the thermostats in most parts of the ship must be adjusted by a crew engineer, and my room has been a friggin' sauna. I woke up at 3 am last night and the night before, throat parched as if I was in the desert suffocating in dry, hot air. My travel clock has a thermometer, and it was registering temps in the 80s. I'd be fine with that if I could open a window or turn on a fan. Then both days, after showering, the humidity just clings. I step out of the shower and immediately am covered with so much sweat that I have to fight to slide pants or a shirt onto my body. Unbearable. I was warned not to complain because they'd make it too cold, and that's kind of what happened. I've now got an arctic blast in my room, but I may have outsmarted them. I opened up the vent which is now blowing cold air into my room 24/7, and partially covered the vent with a small towel. Unfortunately I got a lot of unidentified black particles blown into my eyes, hair and nose. And there's still the constant sound of air blowing out. Ah, well. I am pleased with my McGyver.
I got another tour of the bridge today, which was kind of fun. In the past few days I've seen dolphins, flying fish, and unfortunately debris. The ship is a constant rumor mill, and some believe that nearby ship was wrecked by a pirate attack, but I don't believe it's true. I think the uglier truth is that some ship dumped a bunch of crap overboard - plastic containers and other things that don't belong in the water. Someone spotted a shark yesterday, and others claimed to see seals when we passed by the Anaman Islands.
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I am a bit restless these past few days. Part of me yearns for nonexistent home and part of me wants to keep moving forever and ever. I think it's cabin fever, the appearance of which is ominous because we've only been on this voyage for a month, and we haven't had our longest stretches yet. I can't imagine doing this with a full passenger load. I think what I want mostly is to get away from some of these people, and not because I hate them but because I'm sick of their faces already and the predictability of it all. I know that sounds crazy. I challenged one guy yesterday to defy everyone's expectations instead of always having to be the clown. I hid a my lucky stone because a friend who came to visit my cabin complemented it and then asked if she could have it. I gravitate to the library like a homing pigeon when I don't know what else to do with myself. I bribe the ship's pursuer with small things like six-packs of pepsi when whenver we get to port because it means she'll be more attentive to my requests - like fixing the temperature in my cabin. I sit alone and wish for company and then sit with other people and wish to be alone. It's all very weird and yet all so natural.
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Yesterday after the Hunger Banquet, a student who had taken Eric's qigong class struck up a conversation with me. We had a good chat after which her parting words were, "If for nothing else, I'm glad Eric was here because otherwise I might never have talked to you, and you're pretty cool." Smile.
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Today, G., my supervisor, asked about the t-shirt I was wearing. Her interest excited me. She wasn't sure what it was, but it's a screen shot from the old Atari game, Pong. At the mention of the word, she lit up. She used to love Pong. My happiness was in that this shirt is a kind of social litmus test. Nobody else on the ship has asked about it, which tells me two things. The first is that anybody who would be "cool" enough to know what it Pong is, is too young; and anybody on the ship with enough years on them to have known what Pong is, wasn't cool enough then and probably not so much now either. G. is actually pretty cool. We disagree about a lot of things, but she puts up with me well. I think she is amused by my sense of humor rather than by the humor itself. That's close enough for me.
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I finished reading The Alchemist. I loved it.
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Time to retard my clock.